How to Survive a Chemical Stress Test


Today physicians sometimes use a chemical stress test as a substitute for the treadmill test. This chemical procedure is most often used for individuals who cannot walk the treadmill. Like any medical procedure, the chemical stress test has its disadvantages, some of which are severe. The following steps show how to survive the procedure.

  • Inform yourself about what the test entails. If at all possible, request that your physician or the technician who will complete the test explain the procedure to you in detail. Not knowing what is about to happen to you can cause you to panic once the procedure begins.

  • Get a good night's sleep the day before your test. The procedure is somewhat exhausting and will take some strength that you might not have if you aren't prepared.

  • Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before your test. The chemicals used during the procedure will likely make your stomach upset and could cause vomiting if there is undigested food involved.

  • Make yourself familiar with the individual who is going to conduct the test. If possible, meet with her ahead of time to make certain that you feel comfortable putting your life into her hands.

  • Before the test begins, inform your physician or technician of any existing medical conditions, particularly those that relate to the lungs (like asthma). The chemical stress test can put undue stress on various organs of the body, so the technician or physician needs to have any counteracting agents prepared and ready should they be needed during the test.

  • Don't be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to be comfortable with what is about to happen. Should your physician or technician decline to answer your questions, then you might want to reschedule with someone who will.

  • Help your physician or technician decide the best place to put the IV that will be needed during the test. If you know certain veins that don't hold up under IV or if you are aware of ones that usually work, share that information with your test giver.

  • Relax as much as possible while the test is being set up. If you can, meditate and prepare yourself to remain calm and lucid throughout the procedure.

  • Stay calm as the chemicals are injected into the IV. You will experience a hot flash or warmth as the material works its way through your veins. The process will be less stressful if you can remain calm and relaxed.

  • Remain relaxed as the veins are forced open by the chemical and the blood pulsates through the veins. Your head may ache severely, but that will likely cease once the chemical has worked its way through the bloodstream. Your stomach may feel like you need to throw up. However, in almost every instance, the feeling will pass within seconds. Your entire body will feel hot, and you may sweat. However, once again, these feelings will pass once the test is complete.

  • Raise your legs up to your stomach and move them up and down during the procedure. For some reason, this seems to help lessen the procedure's various symptoms.

  • Immediately report anything out of the ordinary from what you were told you would experience during the procedure to the technician or physician. Pay particular attention to any problems in breathing.

  • Demand an end to the test if the symptoms become unbearable. However, keep in mind that doing so will likely result in having to repeat the test or doing the standard treadmill stress test again in the future.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't hold back any health issues from your physician since doing so could put your life in danger.
  • Don't panic because that will make the test's symptoms appear even worse.

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